BLOG — Just got this in from Athlon Sports, a partner of the paper who provides us with a monthly sports insert.
Opposing coaches in the SEC have given their thoughts on the Rebels heading into the season. The quotes are unattributed, while a few were made just before Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt decided to start Barry Brunetti at quarterback.
“There was so much hype and hope with the addition of (quarterback) Jeremiah Masoli — and then that first game happened. I really think that overtime loss to Jacksonville State in the season-opener just killed their season. Maybe they were never going to be better than 4–8, but they had no big-time victories.”
“Their best player is running back Brandon Bolden. I also like (Jeff) Scott. He was really good last year as a freshman. He’s fast. Good player.”
“Who replaces Masoli at quarterback is a big unknown, but Houston Nutt brought in Dolphins assistant David Lee as offensive coordinator and Oklahoma State assistant Gunter Brewer (as passing game coordinator). That should give the offense a boost from last season. I’d expect to see more Wildcat this year.”
“It sounds like Randall Mackey was the guy in the spring. That will be a tough decision for the staff.”
“The defense remains a question mark. They were just good enough to get you beat last season. Losing (D.T.) Shackelford (to a torn ACL) is a tough blow. He’s a hard-nosed player.”
“What’s in store this season? They could improve slightly, but it looks like another sub.-500 season.”
“Who are they going to be better than in the SEC West? No one. They have some talent, but the West is so good now.” (September 1, 2011)